Day 9

This morning has been fairly laid back in comparison to our recent action packed schedule.

Sarah, myself, Louis and Christine woke early to watch the sunrise across the bay. With the tide out we found a tree that had fallen onto the beach to sit on and enjoy the breaking of day together. The soft light made our temporary home even prettier and we reflected on our time together and what we had achieved with the villagers over the past 24 hours. We had a breakfast of cornflakes and milk, a very nice surprise for those of us who have been missing their cereal start to the day. We then split into our three teams again to plant coconut and cycad trees to protect the sand and huts from strong winds that the village often endures.

Later...A little bit of free time that followed our planting allowed us to pack and tidy our huts with most of us looking forward to the hotel stay ahead. Despite all wanting a good wash and a few home comforts we said goodbye to the villagers with heavy hearts during a farewell celebration. As we danced alongside the very people who had invited us into their village we smiled and laughed but only when the speeches were made did the importance of our two cultures coming together really sink in. We are the first group to be invited to stay, work and interact with those who call the village of Pituru home. As we presented the gifts we had bought for the children, including books and pencils, you could see the anticipation on their young faces. It became clear that our hard work during our stay, and careful planning to select useful gifts had really paid off. With the buses loaded with our luggage and our huts empty of our belongings we said a final goodbye to our new friends and headed off to our hotel.

Just before bed..

It has been a real shock for us all to be in such luxurious surroundings. The bamboo and wooden platforms and floors that we have been sleeping on over the past few days seem terribly far away and after a shower and a change of clothes, it all seems like a distant memory because our comfortable surroundings are so far from the experience we have shared. We had a wonderful meal in a local fish restaurant with our much-adored guides JC, Gary and tikka this evening. It will be our final evening together as tomorrow we will be going our separate ways. Some to England, some to Hong Kong and others to another resort in Borneo. To make our farewell celebration even more poignant we sang happy birthday to emma and presented her with a wonderful fruit-covered chocolate cake. The night ended on a high with drinks back at the hotel beach bar but a real feeling of sadness has begun to descend on the group as our challenge is coming to an end.

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